Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song comes from Portland dance band Chromatics. “Cherry” comes from the After Dark II, the second label-wide compilation release from Italians Do It Better.
Chromatics have given us some pretty stellar cuts over the years, so among singles like this one above, it’s hard to pick favorites. The band is perhaps best known at this point in time for “Tick of the Clock”, the track popularized by its contribution to the soundtrack for the 2011 film Drive. The 15-minute closer to their 2007 record Night Drive blew up over night and with it came a huge anticipation for its follow up, 2012’s Kill For Love. The wait was without a doubt worth it – Kill For Love was loved by fans and critics almost universally. And with time, Chromatics only become more lovable and accessible, despite continuing to challenge themselves creatively. The Italians Do It Better compilation After Dark II hosts a few newly unfurled Chromatics tracks, and no doubt, “Cherry” is the cream of the crop.
“Cherry” is packed to brim with all of the airy synth-pop we’ve come to know and love from Chromatics, all put into one pretty little package. The perfect funk bassline complimented by 80s chorus guitars and angelic synthesizers – it’s all nothing we haven’t heard before. But “Cherry” is one of the purest pop offerings we’ve ever gotten from Chromatics, and in that, the track is magical. Ruth’s vocals are crystalline as she tells the the story of a melancholy girl running from her problems and ignoring the help her friends want to give. The mixture of emotions and sounds is sad, but warm, echoing the story of love amongst troublesome times. Chromatics strike a resounding chord that few bands have the gift of finesse to hit. For those new to the band, “Cherry” is a perfect introduction. For old fans, it’s another wonderful offering from this excellent group.
There are currently no Chromatics shows scheduled in the Northwest, but you should regularly check their Facebook page and the IDIB website for remixes, mixtapes and much more. For now, here’s the gorgeous video for “Cherry”: